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Columnist for a Day: I felt the pane, and Dad saw red

Dad was trying on a brand new white shirt, a shirt he could barely afford. Times were tough, jobs were scarce and families were large and expensive to feed. But no worries for my dad. Tomorrow he was going to start a new job at the Toronto Dominion Bank’s Montreal head office. Yes sir, my dad was moving up the corporate ladder, and he was going to dress the part.

While my two older brothers were busy doing their homework and my sister Susan was in her room playing with her dolls, I couldn’t find anyone to play with me. I was a bored 4-year-old roaming around seeking something to occupy my thoughts. Then, as if a gift from God, I heard a sound that intrigued me. My focus was laser sharp on the source of that beautiful sound. A fire truck was rushing down my street, right past our apartment.

Our furniture was comfy and tastefully placed throughout the room. In front of the one and only window was a rather large upholstered wingback chair with an end table on one side and a floor lamp on the other. Without moving furniture myself, there would be no way for me to watch the sirens and flashing lights rushing by. I had only seconds to come up with a solution or face the possibility of missing the entire event.

Then it hit me. The answer was so simple. Instead of moving the chair, why not use it? Without further thought or contemplation, I put my plan into action. I ran toward that wingback chair and with no effort at all I was airborne, leaping up onto the seat, grabbing onto the wingbacks for balance. This would also make leaning forward much easier, affording me the possibility of continuing my observations, even after they passed our apartment.

The fire truck was moving quickly, and as I landed in position the sirens had already passed. As I leaned forward to try to enhance my view, I still had the thrust from my leap driving me forward. That old wingback chair surrendered to my momentum. The chair’s two front legs lifted off the floor, causing the chair back to rush toward the window.

Before I knew what was going on, I was on the floor, covered in blood. Yes, sir, I saved the chair from hitting the window by using my face as a buffer. My forehead made first contact with the glass. As the window shattered, my left eyebrow took the brunt of the damage. My eyebrow was sliced open, missing my eye by millimeters; the blood immediately flowed. I guess you could say, I felt the pane.

My parents came running as soon as they heard my screams. My mom was in shock yet knew enough to call the police. Meanwhile my dad got a towel to wrap my head. Holding me tightly, they went running out the door onto the sidewalk just as the police cruiser arrived.

Next thing I knew, I had several stitches in my left eyebrow, leaving a scar that can still be seen to this day. After the chaos was over, when my dad looked down at his new white shirt, all he saw was red.

Richard Hunter lives in Jacksonville.

Be a columnist for a day

Do you have something to say? Do you have a humorous take on current events or an insightful angle on the seemingly mundane? Maybe you have a view of life that will help us all see things a little more clearly. If so, email your 500-word column to features editor David Smigelski at dsmigelski@rosebudmedia.com. Please put “Columnist for a Day” in the subject line, and include your phone and city of residence. The rules are simple. Keep it short. Have a point. Don’t cuss. And make us glad we asked. If we like it, we’ll run it in the Sunday paper.